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How to Prepare for Mammography? What to do if it detects any abnormality?

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A mammogram is an imaging test to diagnose and detect breast cancer on the onset. With monthly self-assessment and clinical trials, mammograms are very helpful to detect breast cancer to the earliest. Women above 40 must go for mammography in Gurgaon once every 1 or 2 years. If you or someone in your family had breast cancer in the past, you must start mammography tests earlier, use more diagnostic tools, and go for screenings more often.

Mammogram screening is a routine test to inspect any changes or cancer. Several x-rays will be taken in this type of screening for each breast. If you have any symptoms like lumps, a mammogram screening is recommended. A diagnostic mammogram is needed for breast implants. As compared to mammogram screening, a diagnostic mammogram is more detailed. Diagnostic mammograms call for more x-rays to screen from several positions to get a complete view. Some areas of concern will also be detected by a radiologist.

How to Prepare for Mammogram?

There are some guidelines you should follow when preparing for mammography. You shouldn't wear perfumes, deodorants, and talcum powders, and apply any cream or ointment to your underarms and breasts. They may look like calcium deposits or calcifications and even distort the images.

If you are breastfeeding or pregnant, inform your radiologist. You may not get a mammogram screening. Instead, your doctor will recommend an ultrasound.

What are the Types of Mammograms?

Here are the two types of mammograms available-

Mammogram Screening

It is recommended when you have no worries or issues with your breasts. This type of mammogram can be done as part of your biannual or annual screening. It is capable of detecting breast cancer when there are no symptoms.

Diagnostic Mammogram

It focuses on a specific part of a breast, and it is performed for several purposes-

  • To inspect a suspicious area after going through a mammogram screening.
  • To evaluate a part that has a lump or any unusual sign of cancer.
  • When breast implants on screening mammograms distort the images.
  • To recheck the treatment area

2D vs. 3D Mammogram

As the name suggests, two images of a breast (one from the top and one from the side) are captured in a 2D mammogram. Breast tissue may overlap if it is not compressed or spread out entirely. A radiologist may not be able to evaluate this tissue's image and can easily miss any abnormalities. It also happens in dense tissue.

On the other side, a 3D mammogram captures several images of a breast, so that a radiologist can easily detect abnormalities even in dense breast tissues by scrolling through them. But taking multiple pictures is also a tiresome process, and it takes more time. For detailed screening, 3D mammograms are recommended to detect more cancers and abnormalities than a 2D mammogram can do.

Why Should You Go for Mammograms?

The best part of mammography is that you can detect breast cancer before it even shows any symptoms. This way, it can be treated early and easily without any surgery. Mastectomy is not required to remove localized cancer cells.

What Can You Expect During Mammography?

You need to remove your necklaces or any jewelry after changing to a gown or smock tied from the front. You may either have to sit or stand during the procedure. A flat x-ray plate will fit each breast, and a breast will be pushed down by a compressor to flatten the tissue. In this procedure, a clearer image will be captured of each breast. For each image, you get to hold your breath. For a while, you may get a little bit of discomfort or pressure.

Your healthcare provider will check the images during the process. If they need further clarification or pictures are not clear, they may need other images from other angles. It will help if you don’t panic as it happens more often. Sometimes, digital mammograms are provided for women below 50 years old. Their breasts are usually denser than women who are older than 50.

The x-ray is transformed into a digital picture of your breast and then stored on the computer. Hence, a radiologist does not need to wait for the images as they are quickly available. A regular mammogram takes time to develop the pictures, but a computer can show images quickly.

The Takeaway

Breast cancer can be detected early with mammography screening. It is a general imaging procedure that shouldn't take more than 30 minutes. However, you may need to wait for a week or so to get the report. Sometimes, a mammogram detects an abnormality that may or may not be cancer. But a mammogram can detect cancer when it can easily be treated at the very first stage.

Book an online appointment for mammography tests to detect breast cancer at MDRC India, one of the best mammography imaging centers in Gurgaon.

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